Meet the Bee Family

  Stan Thekaekara |     May 30, 2024

So far, we have only touched upon a few of the many things about the life of bees and what an important part they play in saving our planet. Honey is not just something sweet and tasty; but what makes it sweeter is the makers of honey—the bees. There are over 2,000 bee species across the world and not all of them make honey. In India, there are five major bee types that produce honey. 

1. The Rock Bee: This a big bee that makes gigantic hives. And more than a lakh bees live in them. They build their hives in cities also and you can spot them under balconies, etc. They produce the largest amount of honey—more than 35 kg from a comb in a year!


2. The European Bee: These bees are not native to India and were brought from Italy. They are the second largest bees after the Rock bees. (See photo on the right)


3. The Indian Hive Bee: These bees are bigger than the Little bees but smaller than the Rock bees. They produce about 6–8 kilos of honey. They have been domesticated and are reared in bee boxes.


4. The Little Bee: This is one of the smallest bees apart from the Dammer bee. They build honey combs within rock crevices, tree holes, and even on the ground. But they produce only about a kilo of honey in a year. (See photo on the right)


5. The Dammer Bee: The Kattunayakans call them mosquito bees because they are so small. Being so tiny, they have to visit many, many flowers to get the required pollen. They build tiny hives and produce only about 100 grams of honey per hive. But their honey is believed to have the most medicinal value. They are also great pollinators. The interesting thing about them is that they don’t sting!

Bees surely do a lot of work and play an incredible role in protecting our planet. While people don’t necessarily hunt bees, various practices—like spraying chemicals, poisoning the flowers they visit on, and polluting the air—is endangering them. But they are undoubtedly our biggest friends and we should do all that we can to rescue them. Don’t you agree?

About the Author

Founder of Just Change India and Co-Founder of ACCORD, Nilgiris district, Tamil Nadu

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